CSR Asia has announced the launch of a major new initiative to help improve Asian reporting standards. The Asian Sustainability Rating provides an in depth assessment of CSR related disclosure of 200 of the largest companies across ten countries in Asia. According to CSR Asia, this is the first Asian based analysis of the largest companies in the region, allowing investors and other stakeholders to make a judgement about the economic, social and governance activities of listed companies.
The group has launched a dedicated website to review the rating by country, by company and by indicator area. Australian companies dominate the 2009 ASR with eight out of the top ten companies analysed coming from there. After that comes India, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Pakistan.
Although there are increasing levels of disclosure in the Asian region, it is considered to be “generally poor” compared with what investors could expect in Europe and North America. However, CSR Asia reports that there are leaders in the region who are on a par with many of their Western peers. Mainland Chinese companies in particular are now seen to be ‘leap-frogging’ their Hong Kong counterparts as, according to CSR Asia “overall disclosure by the (mainland) Chinese companies analysed is now higher than that to be found in Hong Kong.”